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VSphere 5 licensing: VMware also considered...

PALO ALTO, Calif. — VMware had several vSphere 5 licensing options on the table before deciding on the new virtual RAM model.

In an interview on the VMware campus yesterday, product marketing execs Tim Stephan and Alberto Farronato discussed some of these other ideas and why the company ultimately rejected them.

One consideration was to completely abstract the licensing from all physical components. (VSphere 5 licenses contain virtual RAM (vRAM) limits, but they are based on physical CPU resources.) But there was a feeling that model would be too revolutionary — and even more upsetting to customers.

I asked if this vRAM/physical CPU model is just a stopgap measure, paving the way for all-virtual licensing in the future. The VMware execs said they couldn’t say if it will go that way eventually, but they did say that’s how other utilities charge their customers. (Power companies charge by the kilowatt, phone companies charge by the minute, etc.)

VMware also looked at licensing models based on processor size and the amount of physical RAM on a host. The company put the kibosh on those ideas because they charged customers before they even started virtualizing.

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